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Book 14 - The Little Old Engine - 1959

Summaries by R Healy


The second of the books to be written about the Skarloey Railway, chronicling Peter Sam's incident with slate trucks, Skarloey's return from the works, the introduction of two new characters - Rusty and Duncan, as well as the surprise revelation from Skarloey that he and Rheneas aren't as unique as they were first thought to be during a visit from the television people!

Sick and tired of having to work with trucks, Sir Handel is given sneaky advice by Gordon in how to get out of such a job - pretend to be ill.  He does so the following morning, leaving Peter Sam to do his work for him instead as well as his own.  Sir Handel has been rough with the trucks, and they are determined to get back at him for his unkindly treatment.  They do this by breaking loose on the incline slope when they see what they believe to be him at the bottom, and instead end up hurting Peter Sam instead.  Sir Handel is found out to have been telling lies and the Thin Controller orders him to think about what he's done by doing Peter Sam's work as well as his own.  He does begin thinking, about Gordon!
Home At Last

Peter Sam feels sad and alone being unable to work following his accident, however, it's made up for when Skarloey is brought home again and provides him with some good company.  Peter Sam fills him in on all the happenings since he has been gone and begins telling him about the conflict between Rusty and Duncan, the two new engines.  Skarloey soon finds out how much of a handful Duncan will be when he's forced to go and rescue him from a tunnel which he has gotten himself trapped in due to what his driver calls "Rock and Roll".  The Thin Controller is less than impressed and reminds Duncan to be more steady during his journey, and threatens to "cut down his cab and funnel" as punishment, which soon shuts him up, at least for a while!
Rock 'N' Roll

Skarloey compliments Rusty for the improvements he's made to the railway since his absence.  However, Rusty is quick to warn Skarloey of problems further up the line, where there's still a bad patch of line, and he's worried that Duncan may come off there.  Insulted by this remark, Duncan snappily reminds Rusty that he "knows his way about and doesn't need smelly Diesels telling him what to do."
Rusty refuses to collect his coaches the following morning, and after a chat with James where Duncan gets some "ideas", he begins to do Rock 'n' Roll as he climbs the hill over the bad patch of line, and duly comes off.  Rusty almost refuses to help following Duncan's ignorance, but Skarloey makes him remember the importance of the passengers and he goes for their sake.  That evening, Duncan apologises and he and Rusty soon become friends.

Little Old Twins

When people come to view the railway, Peter Sam and Sir Handel become worried about the future of the railway, considering what happened to theirs.  His Driver notices his distress and explains what's going on, they're going to be putting the Railway on television.  Sir Handel is less than impressed and refuses to appear, until as such times as the Thin Controller announces he wants all the engines to appear, when he makes an excuse, claiming he doesn't feel well.  The Thin Controller duly grants a way around that, by having his crew take him apart for examination for the cameras!  He gives the engines their different tasks, with Peter Sam being allowed to pull the special television train.  At the end of their visit, the owner introduces Skarloey as being their "Little Old Engine" and "95 years old and as good as new" claiming there to be "Nothing like him anywhere."
Skarloey begs to differ, and announces that he found his twin whilst in England, Talyllyn, who works on the Talyllyn Railway in Wales.

The Little Old Engine

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